MARS Nederland in Veghel, The Netherlands, operates the largest chocolate factory in the world. GEA heat pump technology installed at the facility allows waste heat from the refrigeration plant to be upcycled and reused, which has reduced total energy consumption across the site by 6%, equivalent to the combined annual energy consumption of about 625 households.
Heat recycling is a key contributor to MARS’ drive to become fully energy neutral by 2040. This includes focusing on zero fossil fuels, recycling all waste, and discharging only completely cleaned process water. Each Mars factory aims to reduce energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, waste production and water consumption by 3% each year.
The customized GEA heat pump solution makes it possible to boost heat waste from the refrigeration units (ambient temperature) to a desirable hot temperature level, which is then used to heat water. Heat taken from the refrigeration units is upgraded by the heat pump to heat water up to 63°C. This water is then channeled through the factory’s specially installed warm water piping network, from where it can be sent to various processes and users within the plant, for example, chocolate and syrup storage, and air-handling units.
The next step will be to configure heat pump technology that can achieve 90°C water heating using recycled waste heat, and also heat fresh water. The final stage will be to develop a solution that can provide steam from recycled heat for relevant processes. This will be a challenge, but there has already been promising progress in new developments.
EHPA invites everyone to submerge themselves in the possibilities that heat pumps are capable to offer in several industrial sectors. To read more stories the updated booklet is currently available on EHPA’s website.